Single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) possess extraordinary electrical properties, with many possible applications in electronics. Dense,
horizontally aligned arrays of linearly configured SWNTs represent perhaps the most attractive and scalable way to implement this class of
nanomaterial in practical systems. Recent work shows that templated growth of tubes on certain crystalline substrates yields arrays with the necessary levels of perfection, as demonstrated by the formation of devices and full systems on
quartz. However, the underlying mechanisms for SWNT alignment are poorly understood. We present a comprehensive theoretical and experimental study on SWNT alignment on quartz. The results account for nearly every observable aspect, such as the perfect alignment of SWNTs on Y-cut and ST-cut quartz, serpentine on Z-cut quartz, and lack of alignment on X-cut and amorphous quartz. The effect of quartz termination is also studied. These findings provide important insights into methods for guided growth of SWNTs, and possibly other classes of nanomaterials, for applications in electronics, sensing, photodetection, light emission and other areas.
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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign